Pensions&Investments | Money managers urge caution as uncertainty reigns following Trump victory

Money managers on Wednesday noted the election of Republican Donald J. Trump as the next president of the U.S. struck similar notes to the Brexit vote, increasing volatility and uncertainty despite a somewhat muted reaction by the equity markets.

In the wake of Mr. Trump winning the election, Roger Aliaga-Diaz,Vanguard Group‘s chief economist for the Americas, cautioned investors in a statement to “stay focused, keep perspective and, above all, don’t make drastic changes to your portfolio.”

Mr. Aliaga-Diaz added: “It’s important for investors and for our clients to remember that volatility increases in every election, particularly in years where there is a change of party in the presidency, and sooner or later markets always go back to fundamentals. The U.S. economy in particular has shown resilience compared to a much weaker global economic environment. We are optimistic about the long term.”

Stefan Kreuzkamp, chief investment officer of Deutsche Asset Management, noted in a statement that Mr. Trump’s unpredictability and lack of political experience “are more than enough reason to approach the coming months with some caution.”

Highland Capital Management‘s co-founder and CIO Mark K. Okada said in a phone interview that Mr. Trump’s presidential win is very similar to Brexit.

“Brexit was driven by the British feeling insecure about their borders, overregulation and struggling with income inequality,” Mr. Okada said. “All of those things drove the Trump win here, driven by populism.”

The wild card going forward is what Mr. Trump’s victory means for global trade and the geopolitical ramifications. Being president calls for some moderation and consensus-building, so Mr. Okada hopes the checks and balances of the U.S. government will prevent Mr. Trump from acting on some of his more inflammatory comments.

“There’s a lot to digest,” he said. “As this gets digested, it’ll be a little clearer how Trump is going to work with (Republican House Speaker) Paul Ryan — or not.”

From an overseas perspective, Mark Burgess, CIO of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and global head of equities at Columbia Threadneedle Investments in London, also noted the similarities between Brexit and Mr. Trump’s win in a separate phone interview.

“It is apparent that the working classes are rejecting globalization and the establishment,” he said. “We’ve seen that with Brexit, and we’ve now seen that with Trump.”

Mr. Burgess added that the market response to Mr. Trump’s win is surprising.

“Equity markets have been much more sanguine that one would have thought. It’s surprising because we’ve seen bond yields rise sharply,” Mr. Burgess said.

Mr. Burgess also noted that this rejection of globalization has other venues in upcoming months with the impending elections in France, Netherlands and Germany. This should make equity markets more volatile and the underlying fundamentals more challenged, he said.

“For money managers, it’s probably a chance to show how active management can add value, because markets will be pretty volatile,” he said.

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